Seoul: Myeongdong Gyoja

15 Oct

In the midst of the chaotic Myeongdong lies Myeongdong Gyoja, a popular eatery known for its mandu (steamed dumplings) and kalguksu (knife cut noodles). Anyway, when a place only has four items on the menu, it should be pretty good at what it does, right?

This was taken when we left, hence no queue. Cute lady dodging my photo though.

Despite the queues, we were soon seated as turnover in the restaurant was very high. Along with the usual kimchi, water, rice, we were also served mints. After eating the kimchi we understood why. It was the spiciest and most garlicky kimchi we would end up having on our entire trip. Though I’m a seasoned kimchi eater, I couldn’t help but tear during my meal, and this was after stuffing my face with rice to numb the spiciness. Definitely not for the uninitiated.

The namesake dumplings were plump portions of juicy and flavourful minced meat and vegetables wrapped in a delicate translucent skin – yet thick enough to contain the huge serving of filling without breaking. Dip them in vinegar or enjoy the natural flavours of the meat filling.

 

Despite the shop name carrying the word “gyoja”, to me the kalguksu was definitely more outstanding than the dumplings. I need to apologise because this photo doesn’t do justice to this dish at all. The husband had demolished almost a third of it by this picture. The soup was complex, umami-laden and every ounce of deliciousness (am guessing it’s a mix of anchovy and pork/beef bones base). I also loved the silky texture of the noodles, which was also “Q” (aka springy). It came with other ingredients like small dumplings, minced meat and mushrooms etc but they were immaterial, I could have had it plain. This was probably one of the best bowl of noodles I ever had, because it’s so light yet flavourful compared to the heavy and fatty bowls of Japanese ramen which I often have trouble finishing (bless my weak stomach!).

We also ordered the kongguksu (noodles served in soy bean broth) just for the sake of trying it since it sounded like such a crazy combination, but it was actually more palatable than expected. The soup is a thick and savoury soya milk so if you are a fan of soya milk you will like this. And the sliced cucumbers on top brought out the refreshing feel of the dish.

Myeongdong Gyoja is an institution, and makes for a simple, solid and convenient meal in the heart of Myeongdong, my all time favourite district in Seoul.

Loves: The kalguksu is a must try. Next would be the mandu.
Price: $ (8,000W for each dish)
Location: Myeongdong Station (Subway Line 4), exit 8. Turn left onto the first alleyway. Go straight for 170m to arrive at Myeongdong Gyoja. Or try and approach one of the helpful tourist guides wearing red vests around Myeongdong.

One Response to “Seoul: Myeongdong Gyoja”

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  1. Gyoja 명동교자, Seoul | The Thirsty Pig - February 17, 2012

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